Comptroller and auditor general (CAG) Vinod Rai has, for the first time, gone on record saying his Commonwealth Games audit will be an independent exercise and that there will be no coordination with any other agency, including the prime minister-appointed Shunglu committee.
“CAG is a constitutional body, only answerable to parliament. Before I go to parliament, how can I coordinate with anybody?” Rai told a newspaper when asked to clarify reports in a section of the press.“I don’t understand what you [media] people have been reporting…CAG writing to this…that and stuff like that…CAG is a constitutional body which is only answerable to parliament…there is no ambiguity on that,” Rai said.
When asked whether CAG had acquired all documents related to the audit and whether it would require coordination with other agencies including the Shunglu committee, Rai said, “We will not go to anybody. Our job is to conduct an audit and for that purpose we will go to the relevant departments where the audit has to be conducted.”
On the larger probe being headed by the Shunglu committee, Rai said, “What probe? Who says he [VK Shunglu] is conducting a probe? Has he gone on record saying he is conducting a probe? A ‘probe’ means something else.”
CAG has been entrusted with the massive task of auditing the Games and has set itself a tight 3-month deadline for the job.
The investigation is being conducted by various agencies, including the enforcement directorate, income-tax department, central bureau of investigation, comptroller and auditor general, central vigilance commission (CVC) and the ministry of urban development.
The prime minister had appointed VK Shunglu, a former comptroller and auditor general, to look into allegations of corruption in the Commonwealth Games, which was expected to be a well-coordinated exercise between various agencies. Rai’s statement put at rest speculation that he will share information with the prime minister-appointed Shunglu committee.
Some people are criticising the way the probe is being conducted without any coordination between agencies. The income-tax department’s raid against businessman and BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal, has dissatisfied other investigating agencies who are also probing the same contracts and documents that the IT department is.
“There is a lot of confusion about who is going to do what. On one hand, the CAG says it is only answerable to parliament, on the other, the government has conferred sweeping powers to the Shunglu committee. The CBI chief says it is awaiting reports from CVC and CAG. There has to be some clarification from the government,” a source said.
CBI chief Ashwini Kumar had reportedly said on Saturday, “The CAG, CVC, I-T are all doing their own investigations. Let them investigate. Once they give us the documents or their report, then we will get in. Right now all documents are with them.”
However there are some reports coming from the CBI that it may, in a few days, book two organising committee officials (a former member and a serving member), for financial irregularities in connection with the contracts for overlays. Out of a total organising committee budget of Rs1,800 crore, overlays accounted for almost Rs700 crore.